17 December 1915

ANZAC - Charles Bean, War Correspondent, Headquarters, MEF - Charles Bean spent his last full day at Anzac Cove on 17 December. He left a wonderful written and photographic record of events.

"Woke up to find a grey sky with heavy thunderclouds and through the gauze of the window l could see the scud moving from the south west just the wrong direction for us. However, the wind was not heavy, and though there was a slight swell there was not enough to disturb the piers. There has been produced - as one was sure there would be - a device for firing a rifle off automatically after we have left; with two bully beef tins full of water and a bit of string. It will pull the trigger as late as 20 minutes after it has been left. They would use damaged rifles. l saw the engineers 5th Company yesterday burning their rifles, picks, shovels, tubing, breaking the pumps. I smashed my home made furniture myself and put a knife through the waterproof sheets when l left my dugout. Somehow l don’t like to think of that furniture as a curiosity in some Turkish officers home. The evacuation was originally to have been finished tonight December l7/l8, but has been postponed till tomorrow and next night - Dec. l8/l9 and l9/20. About 200 men go off to-night. Ross and myself go off to the Grafton (Blister Cruiser) at 10am tomorrow. I took some final photos. today and made some final calls on 2nd. L.H. Bde., and Cass (2nd Bn). Cass had a ‘smoking fatigue' on. A party of men were detailed to smoke and lounge about Artillery Road corner where Gaba Tepe can see it - and to carry water like stage soldiers round the road and then thro’ a sap and back again. It is the most extraordinary fatigue we have had at Anzac. Gaba Tepe saw them alright for Beachy began shelling and put in three shells right on to the road where they were - there were the marks on the road. The smoking fatigue retired but presently came out again and manfully smoked like heroes - and Beachy started again. A little further on I found the Light Horse playing cricket on Shell Green (Major Onslow batting) while the shells were flying far overhead."

C. E. W. Bean edited by K. Fewster, "Bean's Gallipoli" (Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2007), pp.250-252.